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How Taylor Swift almost had 2017's biggest album

When is the year’s best-selling album not the year’s best-selling album? When it’s by Taylor Swift. The star outsold every other artist in the US last year – shifting 1.9 million copies of her fifth record, Reputation, in just seven weeks. But her decision to withhold it from streaming services until December damaged its chances in the chart of 2017’s most popular albums. That’s because 1,500 streams now count as the equivalent of one album sale. Swift accumulated 280,000 “streaming equivalent albums” in the four weeks Reputation was available on…

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Kendrick Lamar's Damn was the critics' favourite album of 2017

Kendrick Lamar’s sparse and hard-hitting rap treatise, Damn, is music critics’ favourite record of 2017. The album, which explores the conflicts in Lamar’s personal life, his faith and American society, has topped a “poll of polls” compiled by BBC News. Second place went to SZA’s sensual, intimate and partially-improvised R&B album, CTRL. Pop star Lorde came third with Melodrama, an exhilarating song cycle about the angst and ecstasy of youth. Melodrama was co-written and produced by Jack Antonoff, who worked on two other albums in the critics’ top 20 –…

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